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Elderberry Lemon Chia Pudding Recipe & Benefits of Chia Seeds

Chia seeds. Where do chia seeds come from? What are chia seed health benefits? Are there calories in chia seeds? Those funny looking little black seeds that everyone is always raving about, you know the ones famous for the Chia Pet® creatures that gained their popularity in the 80's? (Yep, I'm an 80's kid).

 

 Yep, those chia seeds.

 

Only today we are not planning on growing any little creatures with these seeds. We're going to cover their wonderful benefits and how they help us easily add our daily elderberry syrup to our diet without having to work too hard at it. After all Sambucus Nigra (or black elderberry) is super popular right now with covid. Not to mention the concerns over cytokine storms and elderberry.

 

Let's dig in, shall we?

Photo by @kaylajoycreative

 

Before we start:
This herbal information is just that, information. This blog post and I DO NOT INTEND to treat, cure, or diagnose any disease or illness. This is for informational, educational and entertainment purposes only. Please consult a physician before using herbs medicinally. Grab all the deets on the Medical jargon here.

This post also contains affiliate links throughout. Translation: We get a little kick back for sharing certain products, at no additional cost to you, should you choose to purchase said items. And - thank you for supporting our farm and family! Read the full disclaimer here. PHEW! Let's carry on, shall we?

 

Where do chia seeds come from?

Chia seeds are tiny little black seeds that come Salvia Hispanica plant (Latin for Chia). The chia plant happens to be part of the mint family (lamiaceae). For all of my herbalist minded readers that will tell you a lot about how it is grown and what soil and sun conditions it needs. It's native home is Mexico and Guatemala where it loves the warm sunshine and dryer climate. It also grows in the warmer climates of North America (in the Southwest). The most common reason that Salvia Hispanica is cultivated is as a foodstuff. The seeds are saved from the bluish purple flowers that grow off of this mint family plant. 

The seeds grow about ever 100-150 days depending on the elevation that the plant is grown at. This mint family plant prefers light clay soils (avoiding heavy clay) to sandy soils that is well drained making do with mild drought situations. The seeds are harvested once the flowers die back and start to dry.

 

Photo by @kaylajoycreative

 

Chia Seeds and Nutrition Information

I don't know about you but I always enjoy learning a little bit of the background the foods the eat and the plants that they come from. Chia seeds are used in so many different ways such as in granola, chia seeds in smoothies, chia seed pudding (like this chocolate chia seed pudding from Melissa K. Norris or this fruity chia seed pudding from Pioneer Woman), as part of an egg-substitute recipe and chia seed pound cake just to name a few.

 

Let's dive in deep though and check out the chia seeds nutrition facts, according to Healthline.com chia seeds:

  • Have a ton of nutrients without large amount of chia seed calories
  • Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants
  • Nearly all of chia seed carbs are  fiber
  • Chia Seeds have large amounts of good protein
  • Chia seed fiber and protein can aide in weight loss
  • Chia seeds have lots of Omega-3
  • Chia seeds may possibly help lower rise for heart disease
  • Chia seeds are high in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, all important bone nutrients
  • Possibly aide in blood sugar level reduction
  • May help reduce inflammation

The nutrition facts on chia seeds are just the beginning. Chia seeds also have some medicinal benefits according to Web MD and Dr. Axe.com:

  • Chia seeds are helpful in combating obesity
  • Can increase endurance and help athletic performance (for me that would be intensive gardening ;) )
  • Can aide in fighting diabetes by helping out heart health
  • May help those already on blood pressure medication to lower their blood pressure
  • Chia seed oil may help promote healthy skin
  • Aide in healthy digestion due to the large amount of fiber in chia seeds
  • Build oral health because of the high amount of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other nutrients in chia seeds

Who knew there was so much nutrition and benefits packed into one little chia seed?

 

Photo by @kaylajoycreative

 

Chia seeds aren't the only powerful super food in this recipe though.

Elderberries, (Sambucus Nigra) became hugely popular during the start of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the spring of 2020. Elderberry sales were through the roof as many natural minded people scrambled to boost their immune systems with what ever herbs they could find. Along with Elderberry and Coronavirus though came worries and concerns over a side effect known a cytokine storm possibly resulting from the use of elderberries.

 

So what is a cytokine storm?

 

The definition of a cytokine storm, according to renowned herbalist Rosealee de la Foret is " also called cytokine release syndrome (CRS), is a fairly rare and severe syndrome that is a complication of some diseases or even a side effect of some pharmaceutical drugs. Cytokine storms happen when the immune system becomes over-activated and releases a “storm” of cytokines, causing a snowball effect of inflammation in the body. This is seen in the last stages of an infection and can be fatal."

Well that sounds scary! We certainly wouldn't want to take elderberries and cause that to happen, but is it really as simple as elderberries and a cytokine storm?

The issue with most information being passed around social media about elderberries causing a cytokine storm is that they leave out that there are good cytokines and not so good cytokines.

While digging into the nitty gritty of the science on cytokine storms and elderberry is a bit more than will fit in this one recipe post, this in-depth study on Elderberries and their effects goes to show that elderberries tend to increase the GOOD cytokines and not necessarily induce the above mentioned cytokine release syndrome.

The study says specifically elderberries "activate the healthy immune system by increasing inflammatory cytokine production."

So the short and the long of the elderberry and cytokine debate is that it depends like most herbs, on the person and their condition. Elderberry is not a cure all for everything, it isn't a lucky charm that if you take will make everything better. And it also isn't going to cause everyone trouble, it just depends on the person. To learn more about the medicinal effects of elderberry make sure to check out our YouTube Video here.

 

 

With all that said, how do we add these lovely ingredients to our every day diet? We have a rather tasty option for you involving both the the benefits of chia seeds and elderberries.

 

So with that, let's get to the grub, shall we?

 

 

Photo by @kaylajoycreative

 

Elderberry Lemon Chia Pudding Parfait Recipe

Ingredients

Yogurt

  • 1 cup dairy-free yogurt
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 ½ tbsp raw honey
  • ½ tsp vanilla

Optional

  • Blueberries and lemon wedges to top

 

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the dairy free milk and elderberry mix over medium heat. Once it begins to simmer, reduce the heat to low and cook for about 15 minutes or until it has reduced by ½ cup. Remove from the heat and let cool. 
  2. Strain the elderberry milk mixture and pour into a mixing bowl.
  3. Whisk the chia seed, lemon juice, and raw honey into the milk until completely combined and smooth. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours to overnight.
  4. Remove the chia pudding from the refrigerator and stir. 
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, lemon, honey, and vanilla. Once combined, divide the yogurt between four different serving bowls. Follow by dividing the elderberry chia pudding into the same serving bowls, on top of the yogurt.
  6. Garnish with a lemon wedge and blueberries if desired. 

 

Photo by @kaylajoycreative

 

If your looking for more ways to get elderberries in your daily diet make sure to check out this fabulous Banana Bread Blender Pancake with Elderberry Syrup Recipe. I'd love to know your thoughts on how you best use chia seeds and elderberries in your diet. Share with me your favorite recipes and ways down below in the comment section! You never know, you might just inspire someone with a much needed recipe idea!

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